The Pumpkin Pirates





A TALE FROM LUCIAN



BY ALFRED J. CHURCH (ADAPTED)



Once upon a time, one Lucian the Greek was filled with a desire to see

strange countries, and especially to discover whether there was any

opposite shore to the ocean by which he lived.



So having purchased a vessel, he strengthened it for a voyage, that he

knew would without doubt be long and stormy. Then he chose fifty stout

young fellows having the same love of adventure as himself, and next he

hired the best captain that could be got for money, and put a store of

provisions and water on board.



All this being done, he set sail. For many days he and his companions

voyaged on deep waters and in strange seas. At times the wind was

fair and gentle, and at others it blew so hard that the sea rose in a

terrible manner.



One day there came a violent whirlwind which twisted the ship about,

and, lifting it into the air, carried it upward into the sky, until it

reached the Moon. There Lucian and his comrades disembarked and visited

the inhabitants of Moonland. They took part in a fierce battle between

the Moon-Folk, the Sun-Folk, and an army of Vulture-Horsemen; and,

after many other wonderful adventures, they departed from Moonland,

and sailing through the sky, visited the Morning Star. Then the wind

dropping, the ship settled once more upon the sea, and they sailed on

the water.



One morning the wind began to blow vehemently, and they were driven by

storm for days. On the third day they fell in with the Pumpkin Pirates.

These were savages who were wont to sally forth from the islands that

lay in the seas thereabouts, and plunder them that sailed by.



For ships they had large pumpkins, each being not less than ninety feet

in length. These pumpkins they dried, and afterward dug out all the

inner part of them till they were quite hollow. For masts they had

reeds, and for sails, in the place of canvas, pumpkin leaves.



These savages attacked Lucian's vessel with two ships' or rather two

pumpkins' crews, and wounded many of his company. For stones they used

the pumpkin-seeds, which were about the bigness of a large apple.



Lucian's company fought for some time, without gaining the advantage,

when about noon they saw coming toward them, in the rear of the Pumpkin

Pirates, the Nut-Shell Sailors. These two tribes were at war with each

other.



As soon as the Pumpkin Pirates saw the others approaching, they left

off fighting Lucian's crew, and prepared to give battle to the Nut-Shell

Sailors. When Lucian saw this he ordered the captain to set all sails;

and they departed with speed. But looking back he could see that the

Nut-Shell Sailors had the best of the battle, being superior in numbers,

having five crews against two of the Pumpkin Pirates, and also because

their ships were stronger. As for their ships, they were the shells of

nuts which had been split in half, each measuring fifteen fathoms, or

thereabouts.



As soon as the Pumpkin Pirates and the Nut-Shell Sailors were out

of sight, Lucian set himself to dressing the wounds of his injured

companions. And from that time on both Lucian and his crew wore their

armor continually, not knowing when another strange enemy might come

upon them.





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